In Los Angeles, planting trees is not so simple

“In 2019, Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled an ambitious plan to plant 90,000 trees in Los Angeles by 2021” remind him Los Angeles Times. The Californian metropolis, which plants few trees itself, counted in particular on “a network of associations and ‘neighborhood ambassadors’ to help and encourage the inhabitants to plant these trees if necessary”.

“However, more than a year after the deadline set by the mayor, planting trees in Los Angeles is proving to be much more difficult than it seems, especially if you want to target the neighborhoods that need it the most. trees to reduce temperatures and improve air quality. Today, just over 65,000 trees have been planted.”

As the daily on the left points out, “For people in poor neighborhoods who don’t own land, it can be difficult to plant trees, or tend to new trees, during the critical first three years.”

The favored owners

Yet the Democratic mayor has focused on these disadvantaged areas, promising to increase tree cover by 50% by 2028 in low-income neighborhoods, which typically have the fewest. According to the researchers, “neighbourhoods with few trees and lots of asphalt, tall buildings and other heat-absorbing surfaces can be up to 10 degrees warmer [Fahrenheit] than the neighborhoods around”, indicates the newspaper, more than 5 degrees Celsius difference.

The “ambassador” program was also set up in September 2021 for disadvantaged neighborhoods. Local “leaders” are in charge “to find residents interested in the idea of ​​planting trees and to make them understand the importance of caring for the trees in the neighbourhood”.

However, if the city often provides the plants, it asks for a commitment over three years to take care of the trees – to water them in particular – if they are on the public highway. And it only grants aid in certain cases to do so.

According to its detractors, the city therefore favors owners for whom it is easier to plant in their garden, and “who live in places where there is not necessarily a need for more trees”, underlines Katherine McNenny, of an association in favor of the planting of trees in the city center. She also criticizes the municipality’s choice to rely so much on residents and associations.

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